Jail sentences for four Liberty Land administrators
March 11, 2018 13.15 Europe/London By Robert Briel
The criminal court in the French city of Rennes has sentenced four men, aged between 29 and 36, who were the administrators of Liberty Land, a site that provided links to pirated content.
The four men were convicted of organised gang counterfeiting and three of them were also convicted of unauthorised reproduction or distribution of programmes, videogames or music. Two defendants were given a six-month suspended prison sentence and 3,000 fine, one was given a two-month suspended sentence and the last one was given a three-month suspended sentence and 1,500 fine. The sums seized, stemming from the activity of the site (176,300), were confiscated by the court.
Liberty Land claimed 800,000 regular users, and was the most visited illegal download site in France, and one of the 200 most visited sites in the country. It was powered by contributors and had tens of thousands of links to download various pirated content such as movies, TV series and music for free.
The investigation was launched following a complaint filed in May 2010 by French music rights society Sacem, which identified a major contributor in Rennes. The site, hosted in Canada, generated revenue through advertising banners, believed to total 300,000 between January 2009 and May 2011.
Following the criminal case against the four men, Sacem and other parties involved are sueing for damages to the tune of 60 million, which will come to court on September 18.